The measures to improve security and safety include a best-practice guide for cruise ships travelling in Canada’s Arctic waters as well a probable tightening of regulations for smaller vessels travelling in the Northwest Passage.
Scientists object as research ship helps £15,500-a-head tourists see the melting ice caps, writes Tom Whipple
The winter job of the RRS Ernest Shackleton is to support British research in the Antarctic, much of it into the effects of climate change. During the summer her role is less austere but, it has been suggested, morally questionable.
This summer the ship, named after the British explorer who was prepared to eat his huskies, will be supporting a cruise liner whose passengers will have a choice of eight restaurants, afternoon tea, golf tuition and an itinerary possible only because of the climate change the Shackleton is supposed to fight.
Arctic cruises are the latest thing in high-end tourism. Icebergs, polar bears, beluga whales, awe-inspiring vistas and isolated Inuit communities – what’s not to like for the jaded traveller?
Michael Byers, Globe and Mail, 18 April 2016
This summer, thousands of people will sail the Arctic’s increasingly ice-free waters. At the very top end, the world’s most luxurious cruise ship, the Crystal Serenity, will traverse the Northwest Passage from Anchorage to New York City. The 1,070 passengers will pay up to $120,000 (U.S.) for the privilege.
But here’s the thing: Arctic cruises involve greater hazards and environmental impact than just about any other kind of tourism.
Changing conditions in the far north have sparked excitement and unfounded concerns over potential conflict.
Michael Byers, Al Jazeera.com , December 22, 2011
Vancouver, Canada - "For the first time in my life, I'm trying to find ice."
Alex MacIntyre was standing on the bridge of the Akademik Ioffe as the Russian-flagged ice-strengthened cruise ship traversed the Northwest Passage last summer. A Canadian ice-pilot with four decades of Arctic experience, MacIntyre remembers when the route was choked with sea-ice that was 10 to 15 metres thick.
Twenty-two ships sailed through the Northwest Passage in 2011. On the other side of the Arctic Ocean, 34 ships traversed Russia's Northern Sea Route.
The Arctic Ocean, which exists in a precarious balance between ice and water, is more susceptible to climate change than anywhere else on Earth. A so-called "feedback loop" exacerbates the situation: As climate change warms the air and melts the highly reflective ice from above, it exposes more dark ocean water which acts like a solar sponge, absorbing more energy from the sun and melting the remaining ice from below.
The newly discovered Arctic exploration vessel is an important part of this nation's history -- it should be displayed in the capital
Michael Byers, Ottawa Citizen, July 30,2010
Museums in Oslo and Vancouver house two of the three ships that were central to the history of Canada's Northwest Passage. With this week's discovery of the HMS Investigator, almost perfectly preserved in the cold waters of Mercy Bay, Northwest Territories, Ottawa should soon become the home of the third.
gas, gold, uranium. Immense wealth is there for the taking — if we
could get it out of there. Global warming can make that happen Ed Struzik, Toronto Star, November 24, 2007
CAPE CHURCHILL, Man.–Two polar bears cautiously approach each other on the fresh sea ice off the coast of Hudson Bay.
before the bears meet, they stand and dance around one another. Then
they lock up like a pair of Sumo wrestlers, stand back, then start
swatting each other. Vicious as it looks, all these young males are
doing is playing.
With me watching the scene is John Gunter,
marketing director of Frontiers North, the tundra buggy/adventure tour
company that brought me out here with Robert Buchanan, the head of
Polar Bear International, a non-profit conservation group. In the long,
economically troubled history of Churchill, polar bears, Polar Bear
International and adventure tour companies like Frontiers North have
been the only steady sources of income for this closely knit community
of 1,000 Inuit, Cree, Metis and non-native residents.
As the ice melts, nations eye oil and gas deposits and shipping routes
Thomas Omestad, U.S. News & World Report, October 13, 2008
A new epoch
is beginning at the top of the Earth, where the historic melting of the
vast Arctic ice cap is opening a forbidding, beautiful, and neglected
swath of the planet. Already, there is talk that potentially huge oil
and natural gas deposits lie under the Arctic waters, rendered more
accessible by the shrinking of ice cover. Valuable minerals, too. Sea
lanes over the top of the world will dramatically cut shipping times
and costs. Fisheries and tourism will shift northward. In short, the
frozen, fragile north will never be the same.